Essex

New Jersey Restaurants Where Kids Eat Free

Who says there’s no such thing as a free meal? Restaurants throughout New Jersey offer free kid meal promotions nearly every night of the week. (Basically, you never have to cook again.) Visit your favorite family-friendly restaurant on a kids-eat-free night, and you won’t have to worry about overspending on kids’ entrees, especially the ones that are barely touched. Check out some of these New Jersey dining spots that feature free kid meals on certain nights of the week. 

35+ Indoor Play Spaces for Kids in Northern NJ

Neither flurries nor rain, nor heat nor cold should keep New Jersey children from enjoying a day of play—especially when there are so many awesome indoor play spaces in Northern Jersey. From toddler play dates to teen outings, we've compiled a list of the best indoor playgrounds in Northern New Jersey where kids can drop in for play. No memberships needed! 

If you're looking for sites that are a bit farther south, check out this listing of Central Jersey play spaces.

Woodland Indoor Playground Is a Treasure for NJ Tots (and Moms)

Woodland Indoor Playground, the brand-new play space in Cedar Grove, looks like my fantasy of a child's play room—the one I envisioned before I had kids, and plastic toys with blinking lights and annoying sounds took over my house. Quite unlike my living room, Woodland is a clean, modern, Scandanavian-inspired space stocked with beautiful wooden toys that promote imaginative, sensory play—including a farmer's market food truck, chicken coop, playhouse with slides, sensory sandbox, train table, building blocks, and lots more.

This charming spot, founded by two Montclair moms and geared toward ages 0–5, opened on December 12—perfect timing for a new play space where cooped-up tots can drop in and burn some energy on a winter day. And Woodland is more than just a pretty space—all of the toys and materials are eco-friendly and non-toxic, and a portion of each entry fee supports the Community Food Bank of New Jersey. (Also, there's coffee, and it's good!)

New Indoor Playground Offers Eco-Friendly Fun for Little Ones

Just in time for those cooped-up, cold winter months, a new imaginative, eco-friendly play space has arrived in NJ: Woodland Indoor Playground in Cedar Grove, a Scandinavian-inspired play space created by Montclair mom-preneurs Julija Stoliarova and Marina Miller. Woodland will offer fun for kids and families while giving back to the community via a partnership with the Community Food Bank of NJ.   

The play space is open for business as of today, Wednesday, December 12.

Best Places To Take Pictures with Santa in New Jersey

Santa Claus is coming to town, and he's ready for his close-up. From simple setups to elaborate events, there's no shortage of opportunities for your little elves to pose for phots with Santa this Christmas season. We've rounded up our favorites, and there's something for every budget.

Want more QT with jolly St. Nick? Book a breakfast with Santa. And for even more seasonal activities, check out our Holiday Fun Guide.

Best and Brightest Christmas Light Displays in New Jersey

It may be hard to believe, but Christmas is right around the corner, which means holiday shows, visiting Santa, snowy sleigh rides, and, of course, checking out the amazing light displays throughout the state. New Jersey really shines during the holidays, with many different ways to see some holiday sparkle—from walk-through spectacles at amusement parkszoos, and aquariums to massive drive-through displays; plus private homes and entire towns that go all-out!

These sparkling spectacles—some of which feature more than a million lights—are sure to impress even the grinchiest member of your family. So bundle up the kids and head out to one of these illuminating shows soon! And of course, you can find even more ways to be merry in the Mommy Poppins Holiday Fun Guide.

A Dozen Must-Do Holiday and Christmas Experiences for NJ Kids

This year, 2018, has the earliest possible date for Thanksgiving: November 22. What we lost in turkey prep time, we'll make up for in a lovely, elongated holiday season on the road to Christmas and New Year's. In between your Christmas shopping and holiday to-dos, we've assembled our annual list of activities kids will love—and won't cost an arm and a leg. From holiday light shows to breakfast with Santa to Christmas trains, we’ve compiled 12 great memory-making activities for this month.

Check out our full calendar of events and our holiday guide for even more options.

New Indigo Bookstore Brings Kid-Friendly Fun to Short Hills Mall

I have fond memories of finding a quiet spot to read Curious George in Waldenbooks and B. Dalton as a child. Then in college, I flocked to Barnes & Noble and Borders, which offered cool cafes and products beyond just books.

But other than Barnes & Noble, it seems most of the big bookstore chains wrote the last page in their stories years ago. You don’t hear about too many bookstore openings these days—until now.

Indigo, Canada’s largest bookseller, opened its first U.S. location in the Short Hills Mall last month, and it’s just what we needed. Billed as a "cultural department store," Indigo is a cross between an upscale bookstore and Crate & Barrel, with neutral colors, clean style, and an elegant use of space. But most importantly, there is a huge children’s section, complete with plenty of space to play and explore, as well as a calendar packed with storytimes and special events, like the recent visit from Goosebumps author R.L. Stine. 

Restaurants Open for Thanksgiving Dinner in New Jersey

Not feeling up to hosting Thanksgiving this year? Here's something to be thankful for: There are plenty of restaurants open throughout the state on Thanksgiving Day. Having your holiday out means that you can sit back and enjoy the party—and you won't have to wash a single dish.

We've chosen 21 of New Jersey's best spots to enjoy a holiday feast. Call ahead for a reservation, and then use your extra time to plan some fall fun with the family, or try out one of these Thanksgiving crafts. Happy Thanksgiving!

Best Trick-or-Treating Neighborhoods for New Jersey Kids

Halloween is nearly here, and in several New Jersey neighborhoods the locals are thinking, “Bring it on!” These Halloween-obsessed towns deck out their homes every year with fabulous decorations that delight trick-or-treaters big and small. Others turn their streets into festive Halloween block parties.

Where can you join in the fun near your home? We’ve compiled a list of more than 30 towns and neighborhoods that are worth a visit. Those who make the trip can expect lots of treats—not to mention some prime photo ops.

Find more fun in our New Jersey Halloween Guide, including pumpkin patches and the best FREE Halloween events for local kids.

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